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New iMac remains iconic and unmistakeable

If the very latest iMac® — unveiled a couple of weeks ago — looks familiar, well, it should.

If the very latest Porsche 911 — unveiled a couple of weeks ago — looks familiar, well, it should.

Seemingly, both of these high-profile products have experienced evolutionary, not revolutionary, changes over the years.  And why not?  Both the iMac and the 911 have always offered drivers brilliant engineering and powerful performance in iconic head-turning form factors.

But a closer look under the hood tells us otherwise with each iteration.  And since this space is about technological, and not automotive, excellence, let’s focus on the new iMac.

Apple® introduced the first all-in-one-for-everyone iMac in a sleek white package in 2005.  The vision behind the iMac has always been to transform the desktop experience by fitting powerful and easy-to-use technology into an elegant space-saving design.  This iMac didn’t just sit on your desk, it adorned it.

Since 2005, while visually similar, the iMac has experienced a multitude of changes.  Enclosures are thinner and lighter.  Displays are larger and brighter.  Processors are faster and graphics are more explosive.  There’s more memory, more storage, more ports and fewer cables.  Apps snap open.  And colors are more brilliant and incredibly precise.

The newest iMac represents the first update since 2017.  Both the 21.5-inch iMac with Retina® 4K and the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K target improved performance while offering the brightest, most vibrant displays ever on any Mac® platform.

Those displays, in fact, are quite remarkable.  The Retina display uses P3 color that shifts away from standard white LEDs to advanced red-green phosphor LEDs. That means all three colors — red, green and blue — are more equally represented and show off real-world color with more balance and precision.  With one billion colors and 500 nits of brightness, graphics and video virtually leap off the screen.

The 21.5-inch model boasts speedier 8th-generation Intel quad-core processors and an optional 6-core processor at the top of the line that deliver up to 60% faster performance than previous models. For even greater speed boosts — Apple claims up to 2.4 times faster performance — the 27-inch iMac now offers 9th-generation 6-core Intel Core i5 processors running at 3.0, 3.1 or 3.7 GHz.  If that’s not enough speed, you can choose an 8-core 3.6 GHz Intel Core i9 processor for the best performance short of an iMac Pro®.

Both models also feature robust new Radeon Pro 500X series graphics that make everything you see even more extraordinary.  The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display is loaded with up to 8GB of dedicated VRAM.  And the 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display ignites with up to 4GB.  Both deliver visual effects and 3D graphics that exhibit raw power in its most polished form.  Anyone needing even more graphics power can instead choose the blazingly fast Radeon Pro Vega.  For the 21.5-inch model, Apple says the extra-cost Radeon Pro Vega is up to 80% faster, and for the 27-inch iMac, it’s up to 50% faster.

Note that both iMac models now use 2666 MHz RAM instead of the previous 2400 MHz RAM.  It probably won’t make much of a performance difference, but it’s worth keeping the speed in mind if you’re buying RAM separately from the iMac.  For those seeking the ultimate power in an iMac Pro, Apple quietly added options for 256 GB of RAM — at a whopping $5,200 extra.

For those ordering an iMac from the Apple Store® online, and if the options you want are in the top-level configuration, start there rather than in the next configuration down.  It’s possible to configure two iMac models to have the same options for the same price but you may get a better Radeon Pro graphics processor if you start from the top-level configuration.  And for storage, we generally recommend SSDs over Fusion Drives — add external storage if you need more space.  We further suggest not choosing an iMac with an internal hard drive because it will significantly compromise performance.                                          

So let’s wrap with some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that Apple did not increase its pricing on the baseline 21.5-inch Retina 4K ($1,299) and 27-inch Retina 5K ($1,799) iMac models.  That said, once you start perusing the upgrades and options, best to polish up your credit card.

The bad news is that Porsche did indeed hike up the entry price ($114,250) of its forthcoming 911 Carrera S by nearly 10 percent.  Yikes.  At what cost, iconic?

Which iMac is right for your business?  As always, consult with CranstonIT before integrating any new product into your Apple environment.  We can be reached at 888-813-5558 or support@cranstonit.com